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About Paper Piecing

Foundation pieced quilts, sometimes called paper pieced quilts, are made by sewing pieces of fabric onto a temporary or permanent foundation.

Paper Piecing. It’s what I do. I play at crafts and I crochet to relax, but paper piecing is what motivates me, inspires me, and makes me want to keep creating. It’s addicting, frustrating, and incredibly rewarding. I love to design, to piece, and, when I get the opportunity, help others learn, too. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Watch my 2012 STITCHED Workshop, Paper Piecing Art: Beginner & Beyond for free. :)

You can find Waiting for Rain, the pattern used in the video in my Craftsy shop for just $4.

How To Paper Piece

Tools I Love for Paper Piecing

 photo caroldoakclass_zps530c4ed9.jpg
Need more help? Try Mastering Foundation Paper Piecingwith Carol Doak

How to Enlarge & Reduce Patterns using Adobe Reader

 Easily enlarge & reduce paper pieced patterns with this simple tutorial!

Designing Your Own Patterns

My Original Paper Pieced Patterns

You are welcome to use any pattern or project for personal or charitable use or add links on your own website. If you have any questions, please contact me. ~Jennifer

Free Patterns and Resources From Other Sites

Paper Piecing Hints

  • Use 100% cotton, good quality quilting fabric.
  • Use lightweight paper when printing, as it tears off easier. I like recycled printer paper. You can also try products like Carol Doak’s Foundation Paper
  • Almost all Sewhooked patterns have a 1/4″ seam allowance. Most block patterns will finish 5″ (5 1/2″ unfinished).
  • For best printing, set PDF printing to “no scaling”
  • A Note to International Visitors – The patterns on Sewhooked are formatted for the standard paper size in the United States. U.S. A4, is 8.5″ x 11″ while the ISO A4 is 210 × 297mm or 8.3″ × 11.7″. You might occasionally find that a pattern designed by a U.S. designer such as myself won’t quite fit on a sheet of paper. There are a couple of options to get around this problem. If your printer format allows it, you may also wish to print the pattern over multiple pages. You can use larger paper, ISO A3, for example. If neither of these is an option for you, use “scale to fit” in your PDF options. Please note that if the pattern size is reduced, you will need to add a small border to the block for it to be the proper finished size.
  • To enlarge the patterns, I recommend printing, cutting apart the pattern pieces and enlarging them individually,for a 5″ pattern, 200% is 10″, etc.
  • All Sewhooked patterns are mirror images. The image will be correct AFTER you piece it.
  • Blue lines on older patterns indicate inside seams.
  • To make sure your blocks align perfectly, find adjacent corners of two pattern pieces, push a pin through the exact corners of each to match the two. Pin or hold the pieces in place for sewing.
  • Colors used on patterns are just a guide for fabric placement, the selection is up to you. You can always print in gray scale.
  • Leave the paper attached to the block until you sew it in it’s final place, whether it be a quilt, purse, etc. That will keep the bias edges from stretching.
  • These are multi-part patterns. Accuracy is very important. If you’re new to paper piecing, just take your time and practice, practice, practice!
  • Suggested uses… quilts (of course!), handbags, banners, pillows, totes… use your imagination!

(c) respective designers as listed on individual patterns, websites, etc.


34 Comments leave one →
  1. Arlene permalink
    January 26, 2010 19:31

    I am Looking for the paper piecing pattern for the New York Beauty……Have been finding everything but it. I know there are free patterns out there, but where? Help

    • January 26, 2010 19:40

      Hi there! While I don’t have any New York Beauty blocks of my own design (the ones you’ve seen here are from a class I teach using an Alex Anderson book), you can find some really great free NYB patterns online.

      There are quite a few over at Ulas’ website. There are also several here that are designed by Donna Duquette.

      I hope one of these works for you!


  2. Kim Kernohan permalink
    August 21, 2010 09:48

    i am looking for paperpiecing patterns for baked goods

    • August 22, 2010 09:19

      Are you looking for any baked good in specific? Muffins, cookies, pies, that sort of thing?


  3. Anastasia permalink
    January 8, 2012 14:10

    How do you store your projects so you can easily pick them up, take them with you and work on them?

    • January 9, 2012 09:23

      I’m a big fan of plastic shoe boxes and zip top bags for in-progress projects. I don’t usually paper piece on the go, but if I’m taking a project to work on somewhere other than home, I bag it up with all it’s parts before heading out.

  4. Patti permalink
    January 9, 2012 18:50

    I’m making a paper pieced Shoemakers Puzzle, but when I got to put the block together the center doesn’t match right. Not sure what I’m doing wrong. Could you please help. Any suggestions would be appriciated.

    • January 10, 2012 08:55

      Whenever I match up the units of a block, I like to use a pin to find each corresponding corner. For a block like Shoemaker’s Puzzle, I’d match from the point in the center.

      You can see more images on my paper piecing tutorial page.

  5. Mary Ann Kowalski permalink
    January 22, 2012 12:37

    Hi Jen, Attended the Tucson Quilters Guild 34th Annual Quilt Show. A HARRY’S BOOKCASE quilt was entered. It was not the complete PROJECT OF DOOM. Your name was on the tag discribing the quilt. The quiter was Karen Porter. Your work is now in Tucson AZ.

    • January 23, 2012 09:33

      That is wonderful to hear! I hope I get to see photos of the quilt at the show.


  6. Sherry in NC permalink
    April 16, 2012 13:27

    Do you do requests? I would like something Pittsburgh Steelers and UNC if possible. Lots of us Steeler fans in NC. Thank you so much.

    • April 16, 2012 13:34

      I don’t generally do sports patterns, but some of my designers on Fandom In Stitches do. We have a small, but growing Sports page and you can leave requests right here. Fandom In Stitches has designers from all over the world, so chances are we’ll have someone that will be interested in making what you’re looking for. :)

  7. Sheryl Cashin permalink
    September 5, 2012 19:35

    Hello – I’m new to blogging – so, hopefully I do and say the right things. I’m attempting to find out if it’s totally OK to download the Quilt Assistant Program to my home computer. I’m fearful to download freebies and just need to know if there’s a way to know if it’s OK. I have plenty of reason to be unsure. I’ve had my whole system crash to the point I had to replace my computer with this one and I just don’t want this to happen again. Can you tell me if the EQ 7 works the same as the Quilt Assistant Program? I absolutely loved using the Quilting Assistant before my computer crashed. I’ve not been back on since. If it’s possibly unsafe – then, I guess I’ll have to save up to buy a program. Are there other great programs out there than can scan a picture or whatever you have and let you design your own foundation piecing pattern, like I was able to do with the Quilt Assistant Program? Any information you can share will be appreciated. If the QA Program is safe – I’d be really happy. Thanks! Sheryl

    • September 6, 2012 15:33

      Hi Sheryl,

      While I can’t personally vouche for the download site, I had absolutely no problem with my download or the software itself and I know multiple other people that also use it with no problem whatsoever. If you have anti-virus software, you can check and make sure it’s set to scan your downloads just to make sure.

      EQ is much more complex software than Quilt Assistant doing a whole variety of things. EQ is for designing blocks as well as entire quilts, applique and much more and where QA is free, EQ runs about $200 for the software. It was a business investment for me, and I use it all the time, so it was worth it for me. I would very much recommend doing some research to make sure EQ would be right for you.

      I sure hope that helps!

  8. Sharon Matthiesen permalink
    October 11, 2012 22:10

    I’m in the market for a new all in one printer can anyone recommend one that prints well on thin paper my Epson Artison 835 won’t feed the paper and jams.

  9. January 20, 2013 19:37

    I am looking for patterns for New York Beauty Quilt blocks. Any suggested sites?
    Thank you!

  10. February 12, 2013 09:44

    Hi Jennifer,

    I’ve been using Quilt Assistant for a few months now, and while it gets the job done, I’m getting frustrated that I can’t change the output font or place the patterns on the print layout. This makes the cleanup process SO LONG, because I’ve got to redo all the text and re-place the pieces within a document. I have been thinking about getting EQ7 but I was wondering if you could tell me if you can do these things when outputting a PP pattern from EQ7: use any font, (I already found you can move the pattern pieces around in the print layout), and when it needs to cut up a pattern to fit multiple pages does it do it any better than Quilt Assistant? Thanks!!!

    • February 14, 2013 08:03

      You can do these things in EQ. When prepping to print, you can print with or without numbering and you can change the font. You can also move around or delete pieces so they are placed where you want them. Sometimes I use both softwares and export files from QA to EQ to complete. I don’t like the way either software numbers, etc., print patterns without numbering from EQ to a PDF and then number them myself in Photoshop. It’s a little tedious, but then the patterns look exactly the way I want. Hope that helps!

  11. May 2, 2013 13:56

    Wow, fantastic weblog structure! How long have you been
    blogging for? you make running a blog glance easy.
    The entire look of your web site is wonderful, as smartly as the content!

  12. sharon piper permalink
    May 31, 2013 20:30

    I started this paper pieced project several years ago from a magazine and now I cannot find the pattern again. I have half of the project paper pieced, but need the photo so I can see where all the pieces go. it is called Holiday with Family and shows a large farmhouse with smoke coming from the chimney — large sleigh drawn by a couple of horses on the snow. If anyone has the name of the magazine where it came from, perhaps I can then find it online. Would appreciate it.

  13. mary ann kowalski permalink
    May 31, 2013 20:56

    The only pattern I can think of is in the book , Paper Piecing the Seasons , the authors are Liz Schwartz and Stephen Seifert. The book is published by Martingale

  14. Judi Lujan permalink
    August 13, 2013 13:00

    I am having a hard time with the Giraffe 2012 paper pieced pattern. Is there a trick to putting the pieces together? Are there two colors of the shading. Maybe I didn’t get all the instructions or information. Should I get the old version?

  15. ndpatterson permalink
    October 24, 2013 20:27

    I have been searching for a batik on black quilt pattern. I keep finding a close up of a block that takes me to you. Do you have an idea which quilt that might be? Where I can purchase the pattern? Thanks


    • October 25, 2013 11:50

      Hi Nancy,

      I’ve made several quilts that are batiks on black. If you can share the link of what you’re seeing, I’ll do my best to help you out.


  16. Peggy permalink
    November 14, 2013 00:24

    I cannot get to the pattern for ASL I Love You anywhere

  17. Brenda Parker permalink
    July 27, 2014 15:17

    I love your site. Thank you for all the patterns. Do you have any idea where I could find any golf themed paper pieced patterns?

    • July 31, 2014 15:00

      Thanks, Brenda! Unfortunately, I do not. None of the designers I’m aware of have created any golf themed patterns. Good luck with your search!

  18. Erin Tallon-Carr permalink
    August 31, 2014 17:18

    Do you create paper piecing patterns from art work for others? I’m working on a fundraising quilt and need our art designed into a paper pattern. Thanks Erin

  19. March 17, 2015 09:43

    This page truly has all of the information I wanted about this
    subject and didn’t know who to ask.

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